Here’s a 9-minute video from Radhakrishnan Chakyat of Pixel Village that looks at the effects that different light modifiers have on studio lighting. Chakyat tests a soft box, beauty dish, parabolic soft box, and a reflector.
Chakyat first shot a portrait of his subject using a naked flash (meaning there were no modifiers used) to provide a baseline to compare from:
As you can see, the lighting is not favorable here, and it “looks like she is standing out in the sun.” The bright highlights and dark, contrasting shadows are created by the strong, directional light.
Adding modifiers can help you shape the light, changing the shot in various ways. Different modifiers have different effects, and this is a great introductory tutorial for those who are new to modifiers.
“Each [light modifier] has made a small change, however subtle it may be,” says Chakyat. “But photography is an art of understanding that subtlety.”
Watch the full video above to see the effect that each of the modifiers has on the lighting of your portraits.